REVIEW: TAMPOPO CORN EXCHANGE

A couple of weeks ago I was invited my Tampopo to come and try the new menu and as someone who often books people in for reviews, I jump at the chance to be on the other side! So I headed to Tampopo based in Manchester’s Corn Exchange to enjoy the delicious treats on offer.

Tampopo offers a wide selection of Pan-Asians delights and as a vegetarian I know this type of cuisine is always a pretty safe bet for variety.

The meal starting out with a vegetarian platter (sorry to the girl on my table to missed out on the meat haha) – the platter included Vegetable Tempura, Vegetable Spring Rolls, Corn Fritters and Balinese Tofu style! The selection on the starter was amazing and it was so nice to have as much variety as the meat eaters! The selection was the perfect mixed of fried, sweet, savoury and spicy – definitely would recommend.

To go along with my starter I opted for a Singapore Sling – the balance of sweet, from the cherries and pineapple and tart from the grenadine! It went down a little to easily if I’m honest.

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From my main course I had the Vegetable Spicy Rebus Noodle Soup – this dish can also be made for Vegans too! The soup is perfect for those who enjoy a little kick of spice, as my boyfriend think hotter is better when it comes to food I’ve slowly started to embrace the heat! The soup is topped with an hard boiled egg which I think is the perfect accompaniment as it offer a little relief from the heat. Our lovely server for the even explained that Tampopo had worked with a veggie/vegan chef who appeared on MasterChef (her name escapes me) to create some of the new dishes for the menu – which I think is great! It’s so excited when restaurants embrace everyone dietary requirements to create tasty and flavourful meals, rather than the simple and plain dishes other restaurants offer.

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Another note, the portion sizes are very generous! I couldn’t even finish all of my soup – which was not a reflection on the taste but just shows that my eyes are too big for my belly!

I really enjoyed my visit to Tampopo – the food, drinks and service was all great and there is a lot of options for vegetarian which makes me a very happy girl! I can’t wait to go back with my other half to try out some more dishes from the menu (to be honest I used to only having three options at a restaurant haha!) I would definitely recommend you go and try it out.

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HAIRCARE HEROES

When I was younger I use to have the most beautiful shiny thick long hair, but as I’ve got older and I’ve bleached it, dyed it, cut it and caused it a lot of damage it’s started to show the signs of wear and tear! So I decided it was time to invest some well needed time and research into making sure it got the TLC it deserved. Luckily, as fate would have it I’ve recently been sent some amazing products by a number of different companies to test and review which makes a happy Sarah and even happier hair.

I’ve tried to break down the products I tried into categories in the best way possible but as this is 2017 a lot of the products cross over into other categories, but I’ve tried to cover as many points as possible! Here is my round up and thoughts for these haircare heroes!

CLEANSE

Pantene Pro V has been a brand that I’ve used for years, my mum used to buy it when I was younger and I’ve used it off and on since forever! I like to think of Pantene as I brand I trust, an old friend which I can always rely on. Pantene is now launching a new collection which includes Micellar water within the products to cleanse and nourish hair – I know we’re all use to micellar water to remove make-up and cleanse skin, but apparently it’s a jack of all trades. These products have been created to help combat the issues that daily life throws at hair such as pollution… and as I live in Manchester there is definitely a lot of that.

I love these new products, they leave my hair feeling extra luxe, soft and shiny! Unlike traditional deep cleaning products, this formula lifts and captures impurities from the surface of the hair whilst maintaining the essential nutrients it needs, meaning the hair is left clean and strong. As some-one who washes their hair a few times a week, I worry I am stripping my hair of all its natural oils, but this product aims to remove styling residue, excess oils and unwanted minerals without over-cleansing and lifting nutrients that the hair actually needs.

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PROTECTS & REPAIR

I’ll admit it, I’m really bad for protecting my hair against heat – I use a hairdryer, straightener, curler and have my hair colour, therefore my hair has faced its fair share of heat so I’m always on the look out for amazing products which are quick and easy to use. The team from Andrew Collinge sent me this amazing hair moisturiser which is a great hair styling product to use for heat protection and shine and contains Argan Oils to hydrate, smooth and detangle the hair. I love using this before styling my hair as it calms down any frizziness and leaves my hair feeling healthy and shiny but doesn’t leave it feeling heavy or greasy with product. New heat protection product found – check!

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Envy Dual Fix 12 is a professional salon treatment that helps repair all hair types. Containing a perfect balance of silk proteins and keratin amino acids to target damaged areas and attract moisture to give long lasting results. 12 incredible benefits for smoother, glossier hair that’s easier to manage. This hair repair treatment is pretty much miracle in a bottle so get the instant WOW factor and get great hair in minutes. It leaves my hair feeling revived and much healthier – you can use it on dry or wet hair, I personally prefer using it on wet hair but the results are good either way – I just like to treat my hair while it’s wet for some reason – probably because I can pamper myself a little more.

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NATURAL PRODUCTS

I’ve never been a massive fan of 2 in 1 products for my hair, in the past, they leave my hair feeling lifeless and a little on the greasy side, however, the 2 in 1 shampoo and condition from Noughty leaves my hair feeling soft and looking shiny! It’s not a product I use everyday but I love popping it in my gym bag for a quick shower after my workout! The team from noughty also sent me the intense leave in condition, this is definitely one of my favourite products – I use heat products a lot such as hair dryer, straighteners and curlers and my hair can often become dry and damaged, therefore any products which can help bring back the shiny, bouncing and full of life hair I use to have I’m in!  One of my favourite things about these product is they are 97% natural meaning they have no sulphates or parabens in them – I’m really excited to keep trying these products and see the difference they make to my hair.

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MOISTURE 

One of my favourite brand Baylis & Harding stock up my wardrobe even more with some fabulous shampoo and conditions to try,

The first products from the Moisture Drench collection, the shampoo & condition are specially formulated shampoo with luxury Moroccan argan oil extract (which smells amazing and leave my hair feeling amazing). It nourishes and hydrates dry or damaged hair leaving it softer, smoother and healthier looking. The shampoo contains argan oil extract which boasts natural antioxidant and it contains pro vitamin B5 to strengthen and nourish. It is paraben free and ph balanced. It contains deep cleansing formulation and comes with natural betaine for moisturising.

I’ve also been using the Nourish & Hydrate shampoo & condition have been amazing on my dry and damaged hair, these products include coconut extract – and as we know is the magic ingredient of 2017! The products also include Vitamin E and essential fatty oils to help repair damaged hair! I love the smell of these products and they leave my hair feeling so soft and smooth – I love using the nourish and hydrate when my hair needs some extra TLC and since they are free from parabens they are much kinder to the hair.

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I’ve known the name Phil Smith for a while, whether I’ve been in a shop or salon, the packaging/nice definitely rang a bell so I knew I was in for a treat with these products! I love the formulation of both the shampoo and condition – because they include coconut water the texture is more liquid than cream, but I love this about them – it leaves the hair feeling more less weight and cleansed. I recently started to love leave in conditions, probably because I can pamper myself while being lazy (win-win). I didn’t feel that these products leave my hair as silky as some of the others, but that be because my hair was sick of being washed! However, my hair was really easy to style after using these products and my curls held all day without having to coat my hair in hairspray – my hair often loses curls quite easily so I was really happy with this. Also, the coconut smell from these products was delicious – always a nice added extra!

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COLOURED HAIR

As I mentioned I’ve coloured my hair for a number of years now, it went from a few highlights to all blonde (big mistake) and now I have a balayage, I love colouring my hair and added blonde into it but dye can be really damaging to your hair. I’ve recently been using Joico K-PAK colour therapy which is an instant shine and repair miracle for colour-treated hair that unlocks the secret to out-of-this-world vibrancy, while providing deep repair and illuminating shine treatment – from the first use my hair felt incredibly soft and hydrated – it helped bring the thickness back to my hair (well the feel of it anyway). It’s the perfect choice for all colour treated hair – from blondes to brunettes, lowlights to highlights.

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Let me know if I’ve missed any haircare heroes which you love and i’ll be sure to try them out.. once I’ve run out of these!

SKINCARE SOS

One thing I think is really obvious from my blog is I’m obsessed with skincare! I might not be able to contour, but if you need a girl who knows her daily cleanser from her night cream then BOOM! here I am! I’ve recently become really interested in natural skincare, especially when it comes to products which I use on my face – I’ve been investing in some bits from The Body Shop but now the lovely team at Pure potions sent me some amazing products to try and add to my overflowing skincare collection. The team sent me six products – Daily Moisturiser, Facial Oil, Lip Balm, Hand Cream, Intense Moisturiser and a Omega Cleanser.

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I was a bit worried when I first received the cleanser as it’s oil based and normally I’m not a big fan of oily products, however, it was amazing! It felt really nice on my skin without being greasy or sticky! Currently, i’ve been using the cleansing balm from The Body Shop which I still love, however, this cleanser is definitely up there in my ever-growing collection.

I also received facial oil which has to be one of my favourite products from the collection, I often get dry skin – especially after cleansing and even though I drink more water than a fish my skin can still be really dehydrated! I’ve only been using the product for a couple of days but I can already see an amazing difference in my skin. With the facial oil you only need a couple of drops which I like to add into my moisturiser rather than adding straight to my face – I’ve really enjoyed using this product at night time because it gives it the night to sink in.

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As a girl from Manchester I’m used to the cold rainy weather, however, my lips don’t take to it as well..meaning I often get Ribena lips (imagine drinking a glass of Ribena and the purple lip you get on your top lip – yeah that, but chapness.) This lip balm is really moisturising and perfect for when my lips need some serious r&r – I don’t think I would use it every day, but it’s great when my lips are suffering.

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I’ve been suffering from a little dry and dehydrated skin recently, I don’t know if it the change in my routine or I’m not getting enough water (despite drinking A LOT) but there is definitely tightness/dryness especially on my cheeks and forehead – I’ve been using the moisturiser every morning to help with this and I love it – the moisturiser is thick and creamy without being heavy – it sinks into the skin really well and leaves my skin feeling fresh and hydrated. I think it’s so important to moisturise your face especially before putting make-up on and after taking it off. Currently, I’ve been using one from Nip & Fab, but I definitely think I’ll be adding this one into my circulation.

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Pure potion also offer an intense moisturiser which I’ve not had a chance to use this moisturiser yet as my skin hasn’t really suffered from intense dryness – however, from the result I have seen this cream sounds amazing if you suffer from eczema or other skin conditions which causes you skin to be dry – I’m looking forward to winter coming so I can give it a go. The formula for this product is really interesting, stored in a pot the warmth of your hand turns the balm into an oil making application onto dry skin much easier and soothing.

Even though I’m pretty obsessed with skincare I serious neglect my hands, I don’t particularly have any issues with my hands and to be honest I often forget that hand cream is a thing! However, in the spirit of giving things a go I’ve popped this on my desk at work in the hopes that I’ll remember to give my hands some extra TLC – I wasn’t sure on the smell at first, I’m used to things which don’t have much of a smell but this (even though it smell amazing) definitely has a strong one, I’ve started to get used to it and the natural scents have become quite a nice part of my day.

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I believe the range is available in Boots and as mentioned before is completely natural, which I think is SO important for the environment and our bodies. If you want more information about the brand head over to their website which can be found at https://www.purepotions.co.uk/

 

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96 HOURS IN PRAGUE

Prague has always been on my travel bucket list, since as long as I can remember I’ve wanted to travel there! I’m not really sure why to be honest but it’s architecture and history has always intrigued me. As I mentioned in my Hamburg post my boyfriend and I decided to swap trips as our presents, so last week I decided to take my boyfriend to Prague for a long weekend! We booked 4 days (3 nights) in the capital and it is honestly one of the most beautiful places I have ever been and 4 days were definitely not enough! Prague is such a beautiful, interesting and intriguing city and I would definitely recommend everyone adds Prague to their bucket list. There is so much to see and do and I’m not sure you could ever be done with it! I’m already planning my next visit.

IMG_2936We stayed at the Panorama Hotel which was an old school but very fancy hotel! It had a spa on the top floor with a pool, hot tub, spa and sauna – the hotel was lovely with a bit of an 80’s vibe. Our bed was MASSIVE – we could both starfish which is good because James already runs hot. The hotel was covered in gold – which I obviously approved of! But I would like to try something modern next time, maybe an air b&b or something a little more chic. IMG_2945

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On our first night we went to this really cool bar called Vzorkovna – it was a literal maze, full of swings, ladders, twist, turns and spiral staircases. The bar worked on a chip system which meant to gave money over at the door and then at the bar itself you just place the chip on a pad and it takes the money off – pretty much just like contactless payment. It was such a cool place full of people from around the world listening to random music, drinking tasty (and cheap) beer! Plus there was this massive dog pictured above which I could literally ride into battle – it was so random but it fit into the bar so well! I would definitely recommend if you’re heading to Prague that you definitely pay this bar a visit – you will not be disappointed. IMG_2941The second stop on our first night was this really strange but cool bar on a boat – the view from the boat was beautiful and my drunken picture does not do it justice haha! We have friends who live in Prague who took us to these bars and they seriously have good taste. My first night life experience in Prague was perfect, it was full of laughs, good drinks, good company and full of life! I love European cities which don’t stop at night, Prague still has a buzz about it even at 4am – I’m disappointed we didn’t get to find more bars like these – but I’ll definitely be back to find them all.

IMG_2947With 4 days in Prague we had a lot to see in such ashort time. Thankfully the transport system in Prague is really impressive! Trams, underground, buses and boats – there are a number of ways to get around Prague and all of them are cheap and quick! For 24 hour ticket on the transport it only costs £3.50 – can’t really argue with that! The one thing I would say for the transport is ALWAYS BUY A TICKET AND GET IT VALIDATED! We always bought tickets but didn’t understand they you needed to get them stamped once you got onto your transport! One night we were heading back to our hotel after a few drinks, we were sat on a tram for a few stops and then all of a sudden three men dressed in everyday clothes nodded at each other and then stood up and pulled out their badges asked for our tickets – it’s was the strangest moment of my life haha! We got a little telling off for not validating our tickets (which we had no clue we had to do) but they went on their way – my heart was seriously racing haha!

As I’ve mentioned Prague is such a beautiful place! Here are some of my favourite pictures from our trip!IMG_2953We indulged in a light lunch in the sunshine which was stunning, especially when we heard it was snowing in the UK! IMG_2957IMG_2958Charles BridgeIMG_2959Vltava RiverIMG_2960IMG_2967This is definitely my favourite photo from our trip! It is the view that makes me fall in love with Prague again and again! We were lucky enough to grab a table by the water and enjoyed a drink in the sunshine.

prague-2.jpgLetna beer garden with a sunny view prague-3-e1493653038153.jpgThe astronomical clock prague 1Prague CathedralIMG_2970After a long walk up a steep hill we reach Prague Castle and the palace and were rewarded with this view! I took this picture on our last day and it just made me want to stay even more – the sun was shining, the view was so appealing and I just knew there was so much more to see of this beautiful city.

One of the foodie highlights from this trip was the Tredlnik – this delicious treat is 100% Instagram porn and the second we walked by we knew we needed to try them.  They are cones made from the same pastry as donuts (which are delicious!!) and then they are coated with chocolate on the inside! We opted to have them topped with vanilla ice-cream and topped with chocolate sauce – literally it was heavenly, a little heavy and next time I’d just go for the chocolate coating but still heavenly. Here are the chocolate cones being made!Have you seen a more perfect picture?

Honestly, I would 100% recommend Prague to anyone and I will definitely be going back some day! Have you ever been to Prague? Let me know your favourite things to do there and if you have any tips for when I return.

ENZO MANCHESTER

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I was invited by the lovely team at Enzo to head down to the launch party and try some of the delicious pizza and pasta dishes from the menu, and as a girl who never refuses free carbs how could I resist?

Enzo’s Manchester site is bright and spacious, the restaurant is colourful and has a light laid back atmosphere – perfect for a quick bite, a coffee with a friend or even a first date venue!  The venue also has seating outside which will be perfect for lazy summer days (fingerscrossed we get more sun).

When we entered the restaurant we were met with smiley and welcoming staff who offered us a cold glass of prosecco to start the evening.

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As a vegetarian I was really impressed with the menu, there are so many options for veggies, vegans and anyone who is gluten free – it was refreshing to have exciting and tasty options – not only just a standard cheese and tomato pizza.

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As a lover of pesto I really enjoyed the Pesto Genovese which is made with fresh penne, homemade basil pesto, toasted pine nuts and rocket – I really enjoyed the flavours and the pasta tasted really fresh and the texture was just perfect.

One of the most popular items on the Nantwich menu is the all-day-breakfast pizza, which features two fried eggs as well as all the usual breakfast trimmings. This was made clear as when the breakfast pizza arrived it was met with cheers and excitement from many of the other guests.

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The first pizza I tried was the Pesto Genovese which is made with pesto and feta base, peppers, cherry tomatoes, rocket and basil olive oil. As mentioned before I LOVE pesto and the feta cheese was the perfect pairing! The base was lovely and thin, as pizzas go this is definitely one of my favourites and I’ll definitely be ordering this again.

I also tried the bread twists which are made with chilli, rosemary & sea salt and oregano. These were served with extra virgin olive oil and balsamic glaze and tasted amazing! Definitely worth the extra hours in the gym! One of my favourite sides of the night were the dough balls which are served with homemade garlic mayo and they can also be made cheesy! Mozzarella and dolcelatte inside a warm dough ball? Hell yes! (sorry for the lack of pictures of these – I just couldn’t help myself)

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I also tried the Veggie Feast pizza which is made with lashings of fresh vegetables and topped with fresh basil oil – this version of the pizza was also made with vegan cheese! As a veggie, I’ve often thought about becoming a veggie but the thought of giving up cheese was also the deal breaker! However, after trying this pizza I could hardly tell the difference – the cheese wasn’t as strong but topped with veggies it was beautiful.